WILMINGTON — A local Oct. 9-10 Hope Over Heroin event is a center of attention for community-minded pastors who have met and prayed together weekly for a number of years.
These local church leaders hold differing stances on doctrine and come from various traditions, but they are one when it comes to the possibilities “that we can all get better through Jesus,” said Dave Hinman, pastoral elder with the Dove Church Wilmington and a regular at the community church pastors prayer meeting.
He said the gathering on Wednesday mornings is a way to find support and encouragement from other ministers, “as well as to blend our resources and heads together to try to help the community in whatever way we can.”
Right now that means promoting the upcoming Hope Over Heroin (HOH) initiative — “a collaborative effort by churches in Ohio to reach those suffering from drug-related issues,” states the HOH website. The HOH events are designed to unite churches and cities to connect resources for the addicted, their families and the communities that are being ravaged by drug abuse, the website adds.
Hinman said the idea of HOH is to challenge people who are struggling with addiction “to find help, to find freedom.”
The October weekend won’t be an end-all by itself, he said.
“But certainly it’s a step in the direction to provide options to those who need help,” said Hinman.
The Wednesday morning prayer meetings are pretty informal, he said, adding you never know who’s coming. Usually some six to 10 local pastors attend.
“We’re all in this career together, and it’s probably not as easy as it sometimes appears,” Hinman said. “So, we share ‘war stories’ and encouragement, such as asking each other ‘how did you work through this before?’ ”
Josh Schlabach with the Door of Hope church in Wilmington said it was “huge” for him to find the community church pastors meeting, especially because his is an independent church, not officially linked with a particular denomination.
Being able to connect with other local religious leaders and to brainstorm together “or just hear from people older and wiser about what works” has been helpful, said Schlabach.
Hinman said some participants in the Wednesday prayer meetings also are members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association (WAMA), which meets quarterly. Local ministers at WAMA’s most recent meeting indicated they will publicize and promote within their churches the Hope Over Heroin event, too, said Hinman.
The HOH website states its events have free food, live music and stories of deliverance that “will give those hurting most the hope they need to be set free and live a life of victory.”
The event will start 7 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, at the Clinton County Job & Family Services parking lot at 1025 S. South St. in Wilmington.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.